Stress can play a major role when it comes to headaches and the severity of their pain. Stress causes muscles to tighten, placing pressure on both the nerves and the blood vessels. If the muscles remain tight for an extended period of time, the resulting inflammation can inhibit blood flow to certain areas of the brain. With blood flow diminished, the nerves can begin to "suffocate." Without the proper amounts of oxygen, the nerves can become irritated and eventually damaged. When stress is determined to be the cause, it is important to relieve the stress and re-establish positive blood flow to the brain. This, in turn, will help to reduce headache pain and discomfort.
Neck injuries that are accompanied by inflammation and damage to the connective tissues can cause headaches to worsen and may also lead to chronic migraine pain. A neck injury that goes untreated can result in the buildup of scar tissue. Inflammation can damage the surrounding tissues. When an area becomes inflamed, the blood vessels and nerves may be unable to function properly. If blood flow to a certain area is adversely affected, the result can be chronic, long-term pain. This is exactly what happens in the head. When the blood vessels that travel to and from the brain through the neck are damaged or have an increased amount of pressure placed on them, the result is chronic headaches or migraines.
Migraines and headaches are treated through the use of several different methods. Pain medications may help to control the symptoms, but they do not address the cause. Medications that act as vasodilators will help to open up constricted blood vessels and restore circulation to the brain. Trigger point injections in the neck may help to resolve issues that involve tightness in the muscles and connective tissues. Patients who experience chronic migraines and headaches may be able to use preventative therapies to reduce both the frequency and the severity of their pain. Knowing what causes a migraine or a headache will help the patient reduce their exposure to possible triggers.